Denver -- Lawmakers obviously hear a crying need from industry for a better educated and trained workforce in Colorado, judging from the number of career development bills that moved though the Statehouse this session. Coming from a strong technical and business background, Republican Senator Jack Tate (R-Centennial) has quickly established a reputation for leadership on the issue by backing bills like House Bill 1288, which was signed into law Friday by Gov. Hickenlooper.
HB-1288 creates a public/private partnership grant program within the state workforce development council for businesses and their industry associations that competently provide on-site job training for high school graduates, working in partnership with educational institutions. This won’t just benefit the businesses that apprentice students, according to Tate. It also will open a career path to Coloradans who may not have an interest in attending a 4 year college but still have a desire to acquire the skills necessary for better paying positions.
"We have unfairly narrowed the choices for young people when they are looking at options after high school, by either pointing them in the direction of a 4-year college, which is fine for some, or leaving them to fend for themselves, with no practical way to get the training and work experience they need to proceed in a trades or technical career," explains Tate. "This education and training gap also creates problems for businesses, who face a growing shortage of the skilled workers they need."
The beauty of this approach, says Tate, is that it bridges the gap between emerging high school graduates who need skills, and businesses who have a growing demand for skilled workers. "Students are in the driver's seat," according to Tate. "They can choose whether or not to participate in an industry-sponsored apprenticeship or certificate of competency-program. Industry wins by developing quality training programs that attract highly motivated students to well-paying jobs."
The Senator's background in engineering, finance, and business uniquely position him to be a leader on these issues, as the success of HB-1288 shows. It's a good example of how the public and private sector can partner together to maximize the potential of our youth and satisfy the workforce requirements of a growing and healthy economy.
Please contact Sean Paige at 719-337-0355 with any questions.